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Jet-Maintenance-Robots

Jet Maintenance Robots: Shaping the Future of BizAv Compliance and Safety?

Jet-Maintenance-Robots

In an era largely recognized as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, robotics is playing a pivotal role in making work easier. In nearly every industry, robots are performing repetitive tasks or complementing human workers in doing these jobs quicker, better, and at a lower cost.

In the aviation industry, engineers are designing and deploying robots of all types to make critical maintenance easier. Let’s take a look at a few of the tried and true robots in the field today and how they’re helping maintenance crews so jet owners can take to the skies with peace of mind.

Maintenance drones

Maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) drones were the first robots to take the field in the aviation maintenance industry. In 2015, unmanned aircraft developer Blue Bear Systems Research deployed a drone to thoroughly inspect the exterior of an airliner for inclement weather damage. Since then, several other MRO drone manufacturers have entered the market driving drone capabilities forward.

MRO drones work by flying predetermined paths around jets, using a high definition camera to show inspectors a crisp visual of the aircraft’s surface. Using drones has the potential to reduce inspection times from as long as six hours down to about two. This not only enables faster repairs but also repeatability in the inspection process.

The future of MRO drones is also exciting. Developers like Blue Bear and Output42 are aiming to create drone software that further maximizes inspection capabilities based on individual jet types. This includes prerecorded inspection flight paths and the ability to automatically detect damage, such as that from hail or bird strikes.

robot arm jet repair

Engine maintenance robots

A jet engine is a complicated mechanical engineering marvel and repairing one is no small task. Aside from being inherently complicated, jet engines are also totally enclosed and must be removed from jets for repairs and maintenance. Famed automaker and engine innovator Rolls Royce is looking to change this through the power of robotics.

In conjunction with the University of Nottingham and Harvard University, Rolls Royce has developed a series of swarm robots to tackle jet engine maintenance. Measuring just 10 millimeters in diameter, these robots are injected into a jet engine to provide visual feedback on the contents of the case and its many components.

Phase two of this initiative will involve a maintenance team installing a bore-blending robot within the engine and deploying it remotely for engine maintenance. Using remote controls, an inspection team will be able to execute minor maintenance without ever opening the engine compartment.

Other robotic assistants

As technologies continue to evolve in the robotics field, engineers are exploring more and more iterations of helper robots. Examples like Invert Robotics’ climber robot show the abilities of robots to adapt to jet maintenance crew needs, providing everything from terrain maneuvering assistance to high-definition video transmission.

Regardless of what form jet maintenance robots take or what service they’re able to provide, they’re reducing the time, cost, and margin of error for jet maintenance. Results are better inspection standards, more efficient maintenance, and safer jets extending to private and business aviation.

Contact the experts at L & L International if you need assistance acquiring or selling a private jet. You can reach our sales specialists today at sales@L-Lint.com, call us any time at +1 (305) 754-3313, or visit us online.

How Are Tariffs Affecting the U.S. Private Jet Industry and China’s Burgeoning BizAv Market?

A fervor over trade between the United States and China has been rising since August 2017 when President Donald Trump originally signed a memorandum on China to target what he believes are a variety of unsavory business and trade practices. Now, almost exactly a year later, the president’s proposed tariffs are beginning to go into effect alongside China’s own retaliatory taxes. A trade war appears imminent, and it could have a major impact on private and business aviation in both countries.

Trade tension and aviation

High on the list of goods China taxed are aircraft — specifically aircraft weighing between 33,000 pounds and 99,000 pounds. A drastic tax hike of 25% on these larger jets includes Boeing’s 737: a bestseller to growing governments and individuals in countries seeking to improve their aviation capabilities, like China. Smaller private aircraft would also be subject to the tax, including Gulfstream’s G650 private jet.

In a nutshell, tariffs from both sides will likely make it more difficult for U.S. jet manufacturers to find international buyers while also making it more difficult for other countries to expand their aviation programs.

Unless the growing trade tensions between the U.S. and China deescalate, they could possibly shape the future of both the U.S. aviation manufacturing market and China’s burgeoning BizAv sector.

Impact on the private jet industry

Tariffs specifically aimed at the U.S. aviation industry are likely to hit manufacturers hard. In fact, U.S. trade data shows “the United States exported $15 billion worth of aircraft to China in 2016,” according to the Business Insider article.

As increased trade prices come down the pike, Boeing and other jet makers may be forced back to the negotiating table when it comes to prices or, worse, have customers suspend or cancel orders in the wake of inflated costs. China’s retaliatory tariffs on aviation represent a sizable barrier for international jet sales.

To make matters worse still, peripheral tariffs — particularly those on steel and aluminum — are weighing heavy on aircraft manufacturers. These tariffs could also hamper future orders within the private jet industry. According to an outlook report by Gulfstream, two of its upcoming models scheduled for delivery to China this year — the G500 and the G600 — fall directly into the taxed weight range. In fact, all Gulfstream models except the smallest, the G280, fall within the tariffed weight range.

How China’s BizAv sector could suffer

As the cost of jet production rises in the U.S., manufacturers often have no choice but to pass costs on to buyers. And, as China remains one of the largest U.S. jet purchasers, tariffs will likely come full circle.

As China looks within for answers to its growing demand for more jets, few answers make themselves apparent. State-owned aerospace manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) offers a C919 aircraft as an alternative to Boeing’s 737. However, it offers no real solutions to the demand for business or private jets. This, coupled with a lack of financing and difficulty establishing production supply chains, puts COMAC at a disadvantage from the get-go when it comes to fulfilling China’s high demand for aviation solutions at any scale.

COMAC C919

All told, China’s inability to produce aircraft at scale domestically means it still relies heavily on U.S. manufacturers. With prices rising over tariff exchanges, China is being forced into a BizAv slowdown.

Where do we go from here?

It appears the simplest way to restore balance to both U.S. aircraft manufacturers and China is to end tariffs on both sides. However, until this becomes reality, aviation sector trade slowdowns seem inevitable. More prospective private jet owners may seek to invest in the used jet market, causing it to tighten further.

The expert jet brokers at L & L International are here to help you acquire the perfect jet. Need to sell your jet? We can assist with that, too. Contact the private aviation professionals online, at sales@L-Lint.com, or at +1 (305) 754-3313.

You Bought Your Private Jet, Now What Should You Look For in a Crew?

You just bought a jet. It’s sitting on the tarmac, ready to take you wherever you want to go at a moment’s notice. You’ve reached the peak of luxury on-demand. Now you just need someone to operate your jet for you so you can really take advantage of the possibilities it offers.

When buying a jet, one of the last things on most purchasers’ minds is the flight crew. But once you have your jet, the flight crew suddenly becomes one of the most important factors. You need a crew that’s able to not only get your jet up in the air safely but whose members will also help you take full advantage of the luxury your aircraft offers. Needless to say, finding a reputable, knowledgeable flight crew is easier said than done.

Your flight crew’s responsibilities

The typical flight crew is an FAA-licensed pilot and at least one cabin attendant, sometimes more, depending on flight duration.

The pilot has the obvious responsibility of flying the jet. However, his or her job duties go far beyond takeoff and touchdown. Those in this role are also responsible for monitoring the weather and adjusting flight courses based on meteorology or airspace occupancy changes. Your pilot is also the primary legal authority in the air in the event any sort of danger or dispute arises. And, of course, the pilot is the central controller for the plane, monitoring everything from flight elevation to fuel levels at all times.

While the pilot is busy in the cockpit, cabin attendants have the rigorous duty of tending to your and your passengers’ needs. Cabin attendants’ primary concern is the safety of everyone on the flight. They’ll go over safety precautions and have the expertise to handle anything the trip may throw at them, guiding passengers through everything from dinner and drinks to water landings and onboard CPR in the event of disaster.

Qualities to look for in a flight crew

With so much riding on your flight crew, it’s important to hire staff with the qualities to make the trip safe, comfortable, and smooth. More than just perusing qualifications, however, you should also consider a few other important factors:

  • Commercial flight crew experience differs greatly from private crew experience. While parallels exist between them, it’s best to hire based on private jet experience. At minimum, look for flight staff with first-class commercial experience.
  • If you decide to take to the skies on a whim, will your flight crew be ready? Be sure to enlist an adaptable crew capable of dealing with short-notice charters, urgent or unscheduled trips, or extended layovers.
  • Make sure your crew is familiar with your most frequent destinations before hiring. Crews with only domestic insights may not fare as well on longer international flights, whereas the cost of hiring an international crew may not be justified if the majority of your travel is domestic.

Above all, the crew members you bring on need to be worthy of your trust — both when it comes to your safety and the integrity of your jet.

The expert jet brokers at L & L International are here to help you acquire the perfect jet. Need to sell your jet? We can assist with that, too. Contact the private aviation professionals online, at sales@L-Lint.com, or at +1 (305) 754-3313.

How to Spot Illegal Charter Services

Businessman talking on a mobile phone at the airportGot a friend with a private jet you can borrow? It seems like a good idea: The aircraft is available, has a crew well-known by the owners, and costs significantly less than standard charter rates. But you’re not just doing a favor, you’re acting as a charter service — and doing so without the proper credentials is illegal.

The bizav community dubs these flights “Part 134 1/2″ in reference to the FAA’s Part 135 rules that regulate charter operations and air charter operators. While no statistical evidence exists to expose the extent of the practice, experts readily agree that illegal charters are commonplace.

Of course, the truth is that most of these flights occur without incident, so the likelihood of their discovery is limited. Plus, airports are businesses, and when they sell fuel, maintenance, and other qualified services to jet owners, they’re hesitant to report suspected illegal charters.

What’s the risk in friends helping friends?

Illegal charters are fraught with the potential for risk:

  • Lack of oversight means less safety — If you’re flying on an illegal charter, realize that the pilot and jet owner are acting illegally, which could put you at risk.
  • Lack of accountability per the FAA — When flights aren’t regulated, risk factors go up.
  • Less stringent training and potentially less skill — This is a case of “getting what you pay for,” and in some cases the pilot may have less skill and training.
  • Less security around aircraft maintenance — If the operator is already engaging in illegal activity, are you confident in the aircraft’s maintenance?
  • Less drug and alcohol testing — There is potential for unregulated crews.
  • Less flight experience — Some pilots use illegal charters to get more flight time, but wouldn’t you prefer to have a fully qualified and experienced pilot?
  • Less insurance coverage — If the charter is illegal, you have limited recourse in an accident.

Protecting yourself from illegal charters

To minimize your risk of booking an illegal charter, follow these simple steps:

  1. Use your common sense. Extremely low prices are a warning sign because legitimate charter operators carry proper operating costs.
  2. Ask questions. A legitimate operator will readily provide its certificate number and tail number.
  3. Book through trusted sites. You can cut through the smoke and mirrors by working with trusted charter operators.

Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to a worry-free private flight.

Contact L & L International if you need assistance in purchasing or selling a private jet. You can reach our sales specialists today at sales@L-Lint.com, call us any time at 305-754-3313, or visit us online.

Internet Giants Turn to Private Jet Terminal Construction

Techies and aviation enthusiasts alike are following the story that broke on Feb. 8. Signature Aviation  announced a proposal to build a terminal dedicated private jets at recently updated Mineta San Jose International Airport. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the $82 million project will add to the airport’s west side.  Signature Aviation will partner with Blue City Holdings, an LLC that manages Google executives’ jets, to construct a 29-acre business jet hub. The city council will vote in April to determine the future of the proposal.

The Google jets need a home! However, Google doesn’t actually own them; the three top dogs at the Internet giant do. Google’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and CEO Eric Schmidt reportedly own a total of eight aircraft, and they intend to house them at the proposed terminal. We could only find record of these five. Anybody know what the other three are?

  • Boeing 767-200
  • 2 Gulfstream Vs
  • Boeing 757
  • Dornier Alpha fighter jet

The lodging for these jets has been slightly controversial. Since 2007, the Google brass has leased space from NASA under the company name H211. H211 manages the jets at their current home, Moffett Field, which is owned and operated by NASA Ames Research Center. For $1.3 million per year, H211 uses the facilities here, including the historic hangars. Built in 1931, the 8-square-acre Hangar One is one of the largest free-standing buildings in the world. It was originally constructed to accommodate the massive airship USS Macon.

But Hangar One is in trouble. About 10 years ago, scientists discovered that Hangar One was leaking toxic chemicals (PCBs, lead, and asbestos) into the nearby wetlands. So H211 executives made an offer in December 2011 to pay $33 million to refurbish the historic site, with the condition that they would lease the hangar for their exclusive use. The total deal was estimated at $44 million. Industry insiders believe that the new proposal with Signature Aviation to build the facility at Mineta San Jose International Airport means that the offer for Hangar One was rejected by NASA and the White House.

And with no funding from NASA or the Department of Defense, it looks like the future for Hangar One is still up in the air.

Thank You, Veterans!

Aviation and the military share an intertwined history. It’s impossible to talk about one and not the other. Many advances in aviation technology came at the hands of military tacticians, and it’s impossible to imagine the armed forces without aircraft.

The smoke balloons and hot-air balloons of the American Civil War signaled a coming dependence on aircraft in the military. World War I brought the fighter biplane, followed in World War II by the development of aircraft carriers, primitive computers, radars, jet engines and missiles. Helicopters were also introduced at the end of WWII. This was the beginning of the advanced technologies used today.

During the Vietnam War, the United States Air Force flew 5.25 million sorties over the region, losing 2,251 aircraft. The United States Navy lost 959 aircraft, and the Marine Corp lost 463 aircraft.

Since then, the technology has only become more sophisticated. Faster, more accurate, stealthier. The list of aircraft in service right now is long and varied.

Now, aircraft are our first line of defense and they are also the first we send out to attack. The men and women of our military aviation are the first ones asked to protect our country. Sunday is Veterans Day. It’s important for Americans to remember the sacrifices and advances made by the personnel of our military. Thank you, Veterans.

Upgrade Menu on Private Jet

There are numerous ways to compare commercial versus private air travel. When mealtime rolls around, there’s really no question about which option is going to taste better. Thanks to the rise in demand for private air travel, the availability of on-board catering options has exploded. Expanded menu selections and higher quality food provide dining experiences that range from the everyday to the gourmet — and anywhere in between.

Here are a few key considerations before ordering your next in-flight meal:

Meals that match the accommodations

Smaller jets intended for shorter flights aren’t usually equipped with a galley, so cold food such as sandwiches, salads, cheeses and non-perishable deserts like cookies are the best choices. Remember to request utensils, plates, glassware and trash bags for cleanup. You may also need a beer or wine opener for that special in-flight toast to a successful partnership.

With larger jets come food warmers and refrigeration units, so the catering options are almost unlimited. A wide variety of hot foods prepared by experienced and highly trained chefs can satisfy virtually any culinary craving. For overseas flights, remember to plan ahead for multiple meals and inquire about staffing to help with meal preparation and setup.

Fly far and dine local

Another option is to order from a caterer or restaurant that specializes in the local cuisine. Hankering for a hot dog in Chicago? Craving blue crab in Baltimore? Call a local caterer or restaurant and find out if they can deliver to the airport for a fee.

Find a catering company that comes recommended by private jet charter outfits or other corporate jet owners. Then ask the catering outfit if they accommodate special diets, how and when the food will be delivered, and if any special delivery or set-up fees apply.

Most importantly, remember that private air travel provides a unique opportunity to celebrate accomplishments, cement new relationships or just quietly cap the end of a long day. It’s time for private air travelers to take back the dubious reputation of airplane food by sampling and savoring new flavors in the air.

Contact L & L International if you need assistance in purchasing or selling a private jet. You can reach our sales specialists today at sales@L-Lint.com, call us any time at 877-453-8276 (+1.305.754.3313) or visit us online.

Honda Jet, Super Bowl and Flight Fees

As usual, many things are happening in the aviation world. Take a minute to catch up on some of the biggest stories of the week.

Super Bowl XLVI

Flying to Indianapolis on Sunday will be challenging indeed. The FAA expects a record number of private flights in the area that day, and three temporary towers have been erected to deal with traffic. The National Business Aviation Association has all the resources you need to plan your private flight to the Super Bowl. Take care of the details so you can enjoy the game! Go Patriots! Go Giants!

Honda to Release Bizjet Next Year

Boasting operational costs as low as $1,000-$1,200 per hour, the HondaJet will be released in 2013. Honda began taking orders for the quiet, economical aircraft in 2006, and the automaker-turned-jetmaker plans to roll out 80 within the first half of 2013. The company fully expects to see a profit by 2018.

Do you think Honda will be profitable in five years? What if American carmakers started turning their attention to jets — would we all be flying everywhere individually, like the Jetsons?

Oklahoma Governor Opposes $100-Per-Flight Fee

The White House has declined a petition that calls for the abandonment of the plan to institute a $100-per–flight fee for general aviation. This fee would be used to pay for air traffic control; the Obama administration maintains that the current fuel tax does not bring in sufficient funds. Some legislators and governors, including Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, are speaking out against the fee. They point to recent tough economic times for general aviation as well as its significance to the economy as reasons to protest the proposed fee.

General Aviation in California Threatened by Avgas Suit

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) has brought a lawsuit against suppliers and producers of 100-low-lead fuel, or avgas, used by piston-engine airplanes. The organization claims that the public was not warned about exposure to the leaded fuel, and this omission constitutes a violation of California law. Ostensibly, the suit is being brought in an attempt to hurry the process of finding an alternative, lead-free fuel to replace avgas.

The Right Private Aircraft Broker Essential for Hassle-Free Deal

Imagine you’re visiting a foreign locale where the culture and currency are very different from your native country. You hire a local guide for the day and ask him to help you navigate a large open-air market. As you wind through the crowd, merchants call out to you in an unfamiliar language, urging you to buy. Your head spins in confusion as your stomach churns with hunger.

A nearby stall is displaying an assortment of unfamiliar edibles which look fresh enough. Your guide, however, shakes his head and leads you to another vendor. After some haggling, you’re feasting on a special local delicacy of the freshest quality at a surprisingly reasonable price.

The critical role of the broker

This scenario is not very different from the challenges of purchasing a private aircraft. Yes, you can explore the market on your own, but a local guide — in this case, your broker — can help you avoid the traps and pitfalls you might never see coming.

Aoife O’Sullivan, partner at London-based Gates and Partners and author of the industry white paper The Gold Standard in Private and Corporate Jet Sales, cautions that “buying a business or private jet for the uninitiated (and, indeed, even for those familiar with the industry) is a complicated, expensive and potentially hazardous jaunt into the unknown.”

Don’t be fooled by that new-plane smell

Most private jet purchasers are surprised at how complicated the buying process can be, even for a new plane available directly from the manufacturer. Says O’Sullivan, “Manufacturers can have a soft side, and the good brokers know how to negotiate a better deal for buyers whether in the form of price, elevated delivery date, and additional perks for credits such as additional training or increased warranty periods.”

In other words, a trusted broker knows the manufacturer’s pressure points and how to leverage them to maximize every dollar spent on a new aircraft.

The pre-owned advantage

In the pre-owned market, an experienced, professional broker has the inside track on available inventory and pricing fluctuations. Plus, your broker is familiar with lesser-known sources of quality aircraft — often tapping into those channels before the product becomes widely available for sale on the Internet or through other public means.

O’Sullivan adds that “the broker who has a long-term relationship with the buyer or seller will also have an in-depth knowledge of the history of the aircraft and can be a valuable source of information when researching title, whether there has been any damage to the aircraft, etc.”

Very few decisions are as significant and weighty as choosing a private aircraft, but it doesn’t have to be daunting, frustrating or risky. Partner with the right broker and along with the thrill of owning a private aircraft, you’ll uncover the best value for every dollar you spend.

Contact L & L International if you need assistance in purchasing or selling a private jet. You can reach our sales specialists today at sales@L-Lint.com, call us any time at 877-453-8276 (+1.305.754.3313) or visit us online.

Private Aircraft Take Off for Super Bowl

Some say that baseball is America’s favorite pastime, but if you ask me, no sport is more American than football. There are so many more traditions built around the Super Bowl than the World Series. The parties. The commercials. The half-time show (I thought Bruce Springsteen was the best!). The tail-gating. The beer. The wings.

The private jets.

Serious fans obviously can’t miss the big game, and they won’t risk flight delays or tarmac waits to get to Indianapolis this year. When the Patriots take on the Giants on Feb. 5, Gisele Bündchen won’t be the only one who arrives in style.

Private jet companies expect to break the record of 611 private flights to the Super Bowl set in Dallas, Texas, in 2011 when the Steelers lost to the Packers. Considering that many fans will be traveling from Boston and New York City, two of the wealthiest cities in the U.S., the record seems reachable.

Indiana airports are feeling the pressure. The FAA has set up temporary towers to accommodate the extra traffic at three airports. Indianapolis Regional Airport is already near capacity and has a wait list for larger aircraft.

Here’s a look at the New York Giants’ flight to San Francisco to win the NFC championship game. The Patriots have enjoyed home field advantage, so their first flight of the playoffs will be on Jan. 29.

Who are you cheering for in the Super Bowl? And more importantly, how are you getting there?